Archive for January, 2007

January 30, 2007

The Mayoral Race and Education

Rufus Shaw has an interesting article on Dallas Blog titled The Mayoral Education Problem. It’s a thought-provoking read, and talks about the Mayoral Race and how education should fit in with the rest of the other issues.

First off, the DISD board right now is a joke. Other than Ms. Ranger, Leigh Ann Ellis, and Dr. Blackburn this board is spineless. Superintendent Michael Hinojosa hides behind public relations people and does whatever he wants. Great teachers are stymied and discouraged until they retire or go to another district or community college to teach. Good luck to the next Mayor.

I like this quote in the aforementioned article:

“At no point did I consider my success or potential failure a result of white racism and this was during a time when the entire school board was white.”

My parents taught me to read at 2 years old BEFORE I got to school, and my parents were constantly up at school making their own meetings regardless of what the teachers said. But yet, I had to physically fight my way onto the subway because I went to the “nerd school” but lived in the so-called ‘hood. I’d like the next Mayor to make it safe for kids to go to school, and then work on the education system itself.

The mayor can set policy, but none of the candidates will attempt to set a real detailed agenda because it’s too much of a hot potato. It seems like this race is about quiet campaigns with vague platforms.

By the way, Cosby is on a new round of town meetings right now. Regardless of what you may think of Cos, at least he’s giving it a shot and using his notoriety for something other than getting endorsement contracts. See what Cos is up to here.

January 29, 2007

Why I Write what I Write

(In light of the increased readership of Dallas Progress, I wanted to publish one of my first pieces.)

Do you See what I See?

People ask me why I write what I write. Do you know why? It’s because our communities have a LONG way to go.

I have seen prostitutes with no upper-body clothing walking up and down the street in the daytime, while school kids walk home.

I have seen grocery stores that look like a bomb hit them. Overpriced dated meats sold by understaffed stores that take your money only because they have no choice.

I see shopping center owners (of all races) getting rich while they allow thugs to congregate and harass working people, kids, and seniors.

I see motel owners that allow full-scale prostitution, dope dealing, you name it.

I get pissed every time I hear about a kid caught in the crossfire. Why? Because my 5-year old sister was killed in a gang crossfire when my Mother was 8 months pregnant with me. That was in 1973 and NOTHING HAS CHANGED!

Where I’m from, I’m used to elected officials in the ‘hood being outraged enough to hit the streets themselves and lead protests and put real laws on the books … not to cry about ‘the man’ and ‘the media’, but against the knuckleheads and thugs that treat the community like its personal toilet.

A lot of people in power treat the community in the same fashion.

I am optimistic. I KNOW it can change, but only if some major changes go down. Who cares if we have a shiny new building if Grandma is scared to walk down the street to go check it out?

I’m sick of everyone saying it’s North Dallas vs. South Dallas, this group vs. that group. It’s the media….it’s the police chief… it’s about everybody but the person in mirror. Good grief – it’s about right and wrong. Open your eyes! Do you see what I see?

And that’s why I write what I write.

January 26, 2007

Texas House Committee Assignments

We break stories around here. Hot off the press are the Texas House of Reps committee assignments. Check out who got busted down and who got upped based on their rewards for supporting Craddick.

One beef: Craddick’s minions used a scanned PDF instead of an actual searchable document. Great. I guess you’ll have to download the document and read it page by page like me.

January 25, 2007

Texas Senators Hate Poor People

As reported by Texas Kaos, Senators John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison both voted to filibuster the minimum wage bill that recently sailed through the House. But hey, these are the same chumps that likely voted to increase their own salaries last year. Other notables that voted against this bill include Presidential wannabe John McCain (noted) . Somewhere, Strom Thurmond is smiling.

Last fall, KBH’s commercial said she “had a heart as big as Texas.” I guess, maybe she doesn’t?

January 24, 2007

Heartless Utility Providers

Glenn Arbery of People Newspapers writes about his awful experience with an unnamed electricity provider. It confirmed my fears about some of these fly-by-night operations.

Lately, I’ve been looking into switching providers. But there is almost no information available. Read Glenn’s story, Our Own Private Ice Storm and judge for yourself. Glenn, if you’re out there, drop me a line. I’ll keep the provider confidential.

If anyone has their own stories about alternative providers (bad or good), please post a comment.

January 22, 2007

Dwaine Caraway on YouTube

For Dallas City Council District 4, the best choice is Dwaine Caraway. He’s been active in his District even when there was no election occurring. While I am a consultant for his campaign, I have seen first hand how he is on call 24/7 for his District.

Read more at the links below.

Dwaine on YouTube

Website (revamp coming soon):

January 20, 2007

Perry Asked to Ax Head of TXDOT

The Austin-American Statesman reports that Senator John Carona wants Rick Perry to replace Ric Williamson as the head of TxDot. Carona is the chairman of the Texas Senate’s transportation committee. (shouts to Sal Costello for spotting the article)

This quote says it all:

Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, said Williamson’s “abrasiveness” and single-minded commitment to toll roads and privatization as the solution to traffic congestion “has worn out his welcome in many communities across the state.”

The article is a must read. With high-ranking officials in his own party calling for a change in TxDot leadership, maybe it’s time that Perry listens.

January 18, 2007

Bill Blaydes = Out

Reports have surfaced that Bill Blaydes is out of the 2007 City Council Election.
According to Dave Levinthal at the DMN and Adam McGill at DMag, Blaydes is citing family, health, and business dealings as his reasons for not seeking another term.

That makes seven seats that will be vacated due to term limits or people running for Mayor. This includes seats 3,4,5,7,8,9, and 10. Along with having a new Mayor (!), there will be at least eight new representatives at City Council. And Angela Hunt better end up being at least Deputy Mayor Pro Tem.

I bet Blaydes turns up as a consultant on the Inland Port or something like that. Mark it.

I’ve appreciated his help with some issues, and I’ve disagreed with him on others. I wish him the best.

January 16, 2007

Trans-Texas Corridor. What more can be said?

Apparently a whole lot, according to the Fort Worth Weekly. The Fort Worth weekly has an interesting article about the fight against the Trans-Texas Corridor. It’s even more of a disaster than I thought. Read the whole article, in the meantime here are some juicy morsels to chew and choke on in the interim:

The executive summary of the bill describes a statewide network of transportation facilities that sounds pretty much like business as usual in the road-building game.

The plan, made public only after 175 Freedom of Information Act requests were filed by citizen groups and news media, describes a 1,200-foot-wide corridor to be leased to private companies who will design, build, and maintain their specific sections, setting and collecting all tolls for contract periods ranging from 50 to 75 years. Sections of existing roads that coincide with the corridor — all of I-35 from San Antonio to Laredo, for example — will become part of the toll road. Additionally, motels, gas stations, and stores built within the corridor will be part of the private company’s holdings — and part of their profit package.


Who gets to decide what tolls to charge on these new roads? Cintra. In the contract, TxDOT agreed that toll prices will be set “at what the market will bear.” A TxDOT news release suggested they would be in the 12- to 24-cent range per mile for autos. Opponents think they’ll more likely be twice that. In other words, the San Antonio-to-Dallas trip could cost a motorist anywhere from $32 to $118 in tolls, plus gas.


Maybe you figure that if the tolls are too high on the TTC and the exits won’t let you get where you’re going very well, you’ll just stick to the old roads. Well, good luck. The TTC legislation forbids improvement of any road that runs parallel to the TTC corridors beyond what’s already in the works. That means no beautification, no widening, no new exits or entrances for the life of the contract — 50 years in this case. “Imagine if you live in a little town on a two-lane farm-to-market road that runs parallel to this thing,” suggested former Fort Worth City Council member Clyde Picht. “And then a subdivision gets built, and suddenly you’ve got 3,000 homeowners and cars fighting for space on that two-lane road. Well, you need to widen it to accommodate people. But your hands will be tied.”

Having fun yet?

Rep Garnet Coleman of Houston tried to stop the Toll Roads last session but was rebuffed by Mike Krusee (also the author of the bill that created this mess) who wouldn’t let the bill out of committee.

“The only solution is a moratorium on not only the TTC but all toll roads, statewide,” said Rep. Coleman. “This is about cronyism and creating Lexus lanes and paying pals. To invest [this] kind of money … in a superhighway when we could invest it in high-speed rail is ridiculous.”

Coleman said he also believes TxDOT is sitting on road construction that’s already been authorized, in order to keep traffic congestion bad in Houston. “I believe they’re doing it so that people will get so fed up with congestion that they’ll welcome toll roads and the TTC,” he said.

This session, he plans to reintroduce both his toll road moratorium bill and a bill to prohibit TxDOT from advertising the TTC. “This whole TTC has to be stopped. And people are beginning to get it, that it must be stopped. I believe we’re making headway on this issue.”

But Coleman’s closing line is my favorite:

Can a project with this much momentum and political clout behind it be stopped?
“Anything can be stopped.” he said. “It just takes the will of the people.”

Some of this info is probably known by my downstate readers who are more effected by the TTC than us folks in Dallas. But with Loop 9 coming to circle the Dallas area, what happens in the current legislature regarding toll roads is more important than ever.

January 15, 2007

A Short Thought about MLK

When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday arrives each year, I usually take time to reflect and work on my personal goals and for those of my community.

Keep in mind that Dr. King was only 39 when he died. He made an impact on the world at a relatively young age, beginning to write high-quality social papers and scholarly thoughts at the age of 19.

Dr. King’s legacy is much more than the “I Have a Dream Speech” or Montgomery Bus Boycott. While those events are the most well known, he fought for many causes throughout his life and chose to impact the world in a manner that has not been seen since his passing.

Cheers to a fellow college alum, and to a man whose work should be dutifully carried on by the leaders of today. There is a little Dr. King in all of us; whether or not you choose to utilize it is your choice.